Florida bill aims to award medical cannabis licenses to 3 Black farmers

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Florida lawmakers are again trying to expand the number of medical cannabis licenses reserved for Black farmers in the state – a contentious issue that has been under debate for years.

If signed into law by Gov. Rick DeSantis, the newly passed Senate Bill 1582 includes a provision that allocates at least three medical marijuana licenses to Black farmers who weren’t previously eligible, according to the Tallahassee-based News Service of Florida.

DeSantis signed into law a separate bill in June that awarded licenses to Black farmers.

If the governor signs SB 1582, a total of six cultivators will have been awarded MMJ licenses earmarked for Black farmers, the result of years of debate since 1981, when farmers launched a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging lending and assistance discrimination.

Notably, one of those licenses would go to the family of Moton Hopkins, who died before being awarded a license.

Florida courts deemed the family to be ineligible to receive the license in Hopkins’ place.

Medical cannabis sales in Florida are projected to reach $2 billion in 2024, according to the MJBiz Factbook.